Monday, June 21, 1943

The Charlotte News

Monday, June 21, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that during the weekend, the Allies struck targets in Sicily and mainland Italy. Italian sources identified the mainland targets as Naples, San Giovanni, Foggia, Reggio Calabria, regular targets of the bombing raids, and Spinazzola. Targets on Sicily ranged from Marsala to Messina.

Rumors circulating on Saturday that a peace mission had been sent from Italy to Algiers were denied by Allied sources.

Italian informants recently returning from the country to Sweden reported that the mood of the people was solidly in support of a separate peace with the Allies, that they felt caught between "two fires", that German planes would begin bombing as soon as a peace was struck with the Allies. Reliance was being placed on Rome as a safe haven for evacuation, taxing its systems of support. General praise was being given Pope Pius XII. An active black market had been established, fueled by German soldiers selling ordinary scarce articles at inflated prices. American cigarettes were selling for the equivalent of $25 per pack, suits for $350.

Sixty-seven Italian citizens of Pantellaria, angry with the two despots of Europe, who, they asserted, had ruined Italy and sucked it dry, sent a letter to General Eisenhower welcoming the Allies to the recently surrendered island and urged them on to victory on the mainland.

Encouraging Italians to demonstrate for peace, a message to the Italian people was sent by the Allied High Command, warning them to move away from communications and industrial centers, targets of Allied bombing raids.

Apprehension was said to characterize the mood of Russia concerning the prospect of a summer offensive, but so far increased German bombing activity was the only indicator that Hitler intended to engage such an effort for the third successive summer, the last gasp effort to try to vanquish Russia ahead of the Allied invasion expected in the West.

The Russians claimed 276 German aircraft destroyed in the previous week, bringing the reported total since May 1 to 3,595 planes. The Russian Air Force lost 94 of its own during the prior week.

Echoing the concern expressed Saturday on the editorial page in "Color Line", noting palpable racial tension in the country, a race riot had broken out Saturday evening in Detroit, causing the deaths thus far of six persons and injuries to two hundred more. It was not yet clear what had caused the riot, which spread from an altercation at Belle Isle Bridge. State police and guardsmen were mobilized to the city to assist the police force in attempting to quell the rioting and looting.

Eventually, thirty-four persons would die from the riot which lasted three days until Federal troops were sent in to restore order. Tensions had been mounting during the previous year and a half with a steadily burgeoning population seeking war industry work. Fully fifty thousand African-Americans, most from the South, out of 350,000 new residents of the city, were added to the tax rolls during this period.

While shorter in duration than the notorious Detroit riot of July 23-27, 1967 in which 43 died, the later riot resulted in fewer injured, 467, than the 600 in 1943. Approximately 1,800 arrests were made in the 1943 riot, 85% of which were of African-Americans; in 1967, over 7,200 were arrested. In 1967, over 2,500 stores were burned and 388 families were rendered homeless through destruction of their homes.

More than half a million coal miners again walked off work with the passing of the midnight Sunday deadline for negotiating a new contract. The UMW left the door open for resumption of work upon Government orders. It was the third time in two months, the first having been in late April and the second having been June 1-5, that the miners had struck. The sticking point in negotiations continued to be portal-to-portal pay.

In Chapter 18 of They Call It Pacific, Clark Lee reports of his astonishment to find but one regiment of U. S. Army infantry defending Bataan and Corregidor during January of 1942. About 8,000 American soldiers were on Corregidor and another 5,000 on Bataan, not the reported 60,000 which he and his colleagues in the press had been led to believe. The remaining troops consisted of 30,000 Filipinos, half of whom were untrained. There were fewer than thirty tanks and about ten airplanes on Bataan. The hopelessness of the situation was thus apparent from the beginning.

He proceeds to describe the three phases of the Battle for Bataan, taking place from January 1 to April 8, at which latter point the embattled peninsula was forced to surrender.

As the front page points out, the case of Schneiderman v. U.S., 320 US 118, was decided by the Supreme Court this date by a vote of 6 to 3, with a dissent filed by Chief Justice Harlan Stone, joined by Justices Felix Frankfurter and Owen Roberts, holding that the Government could not take away previously granted naturalization twelve years after the grant based solely on membership in the Communist Party when the Government had not shown by "clear and convincing evidence" that the Party advocated violent action which stood as a clear and present danger of public disorder, as opposed to enunciating only hypothetical conditions upon which actions might be predicated at a future time but not calculated to be acted upon presently.

After expressly stepping away from any consideration of the present view of Communist Russia as an ally of the United States, Justice Frank Murphy, writing for the Court, upheld freedom of thought, stating:

There is a material difference between agitation and exhortation calling for present violent action which creates a clear and present danger of public disorder or other substantive evil, and mere doctrinal justification or prediction of the use of force under hypothetical conditions at some indefinite future time--prediction that is not calculated or intended to be presently acted upon, thus leaving opportunity for general discussion and the calm processes of thought and reason. Cf. Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 62 S.Ct. 190, and Justice Brandeis' concurring opinion in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 372-380, 47 S.Ct. 641, 647-650. See also Taylor v. Mississippi, 319 U.S. 583, 63 S.Ct. 1200, this term. Because of this difference we may assume that Congress intended, by the general test of "attachment" in the 1906 Act, to deny naturalization to persons falling into the first category but not to those in the second. Such a construction of the statute is to be favored because it preserves for novitiates as well as citizens the full benefit of that freedom of thought which is a fundamental feature of our political institutions. Under the conflicting evidence in this case we cannot say that the Government has proved by such a preponderance of the evidence that the issue is not in doubt, that the attitude of the Communist Party of the United States in 1927 towards force and violence was not susceptible of classification in the second category. Petitioner testified that he subscribed to this interpretation of Party principles when he was naturalized, and nothing in his conduct is inconsistent with that testimony. We conclude that the Government has not carried its burden of proving by "clear, unequivocal, and convincing" evidence which does not leave "the issue in doubt", that petitioner obtained his citizenship illegally.

As we have pointed out previously, the unanimous decision in Hirabayashi v. U.S., 320 US 81, was also announced this date, upholding a misdemeanor conviction for violating a curfew imposed on persons of Japanese ancestry in a designated military area along the West Coast. Mr. Hirabayashi had also been charged and convicted with failing to report to a detention center, but as the punishment for that count ran concurrent with the count of curfew violation, the Court, finding no constitutional infirmity in the conviction for violation of the curfew, deemed it unnecessary to reach the propriety of the conviction for failure to report to the detention center.

This case set the stage for the notorious case late the following year, Korematsu v. U.S., upholding 6 to 3 a conviction for failing to report to a detention center, memorable for its scathing dissent by Justice Murphy who had joined the Court's opinion in Hirabayashi, albeit with reluctant concurrence characterizing the limitation on movement based strictly on race as reaching the outer limit of constitutional permissibility in time of war emergency. Justice Murphy was wrestling with his conscience in providing such tenuous agreement with the rest of the Court:

Distinctions based on color and ancestry are utterly inconsistent with our traditions and ideals. They are at variance with the principles for which we are now waging war. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that for centuries the Old World has been torn by racial and religious conflicts and has suffered the worst kind of anguish because of inequality of treatment for different groups. There was one law for one and a different law for another. Nothing is written more firmly into our law than the compact of the Plymouth voyagers to have just and equal laws. To say that any group cannot be assimilated is to admit that the great American experiment has failed, that our way of life has failed when confronted with the normal attachment of certain groups to the lands of their forefathers. As a nation we embrace many groups, some of them among the oldest settlements in our midst, which have isolated themselves for religious and cultural reasons.

Today is the first time, so far as I am aware, that we have sustained a substantial restriction of the personal liberty of citizens of the United States based upon the accident of race or ancestry. Under the curfew order here challenged no less than 70,000 American citizens have been placed under a special ban and deprived of their liberty because of their particular racial inheritance. In this sense it bears a melancholy resemblance to the treatment accorded to members of the Jewish race in Germany and in other parts of Europe. The result is the creation in this country of two classes of citizens for the purposes of a critical and perilous hour--to sanction discrimination between groups of United States citizens on the basis of ancestry. In my opinion this goes to the very brink of constitutional power.

Except under conditions of great emergency a regulation of this kind applicable solely to citizens of a particular racial extraction would not be regarded as in accord with the requirement of due process of law contained in the Fifth Amendment.

On the editorial page, Dorothy Thompson takes a look at Nazi youth and finds them not beyond salvation in the post-war world. She examines German youth historically since World War I, pushes to the fore the fact that the youth movement in Germany had been primarily pacifist after the war until it was splintered by a realization of stark economic realities and unemployment, producing widespread revolt, some of which was channeled into the reactionary, anti-Semitic Nazi movement, finding a convenient scapegoat for the society's problems both economically and in terms of lost pride occasioned by defeat.

She posits that the rebellious streak omnipresent in youth generally and prevalent among German youth historically would ultimately boomerang against the elder Nazi Party leaders.

Adding fuel to natural impulsion was the violence of late being exacted by the Nazis against youth. She cites the example from February of a Gauleiter who gave a speech at the University of Munich urging all women students to start immediate procreation for the Reich and stop wasting their and their country's time as students, that they should go to work in war plants. Hans Scholl, a 25-year old crippled veteran of the Battle of Stalingrad, rose to speak out against the speech, saying that he did not fight at Stalingrad so that bureaucrats could seek to turn young German women into prostitutes. He and four other students, including his sister, each of whom had been active since the summer of 1942 in distributing leaflets urging passive resistance to the Nazis, were thereupon arrested, promptly then found guilty of treason and shot on February 22.

Ms. Thompson offers that, based on her knowledge of German university life, it was a virtual certainty that the story had resonated throughout the student population of Germany, reverberating with it ill portent for the future of the Nazi Party, indoctrination techniques of the past notwithstanding.

Thus, she concludes that there should be no punitive treatment of the Nazi youth after the war, that they could be disabused of any brainwashing which was not already reversed by firsthand perception of atrocities against their own and the general harsh experience of German life under Nazi rule.

Samuel Grafton observes that in Washington scuttlebutt had it that the recent "revolutionists" in Argentina were actually pro-Axis. The rumors had germinated from the fact that the new government had begun allowing Axis agents in the country to transmit coded messages to their respective governments.

Mr. Grafton finds the revelation hardly surprising, given that the first acts of the Ramirez Government had been to throw out a number of elected officials, replacing them with his handpicked bosses, canceling forthcoming elections, and suppressing the only newspaper, which was pro-communist.

Raymond Clapper, by way of urging full commitment of the Congress and the people to establishing a peacefully coexisting post-war world, reminds Americans that the war was far from over, that American fliers were being lost every day during bombing missions over Europe, that 1,300 civilians in England had been killed or injured during May alone. He finds the need to stress the point from the fact of the coal crisis, the previous rubber industry strike in May, and the threat of labor leaders to call general strikes if the anti-strike legislation pending before Congress were passed.

Was it the case that the United States was now reverting to peacetime status quo, long before the war was won? He asks the question concerned of the answer and its portent for the remainder of the war and its aftermath.

"Big Mail" comments on the overabundance of uninformative and redundant government mail received at the offices of The News each day and wonders why it was so in light of the shortage of newsprint and the supposed lack of availability of trained printers in the country.

"All Alone" voices support for OPA price subsidies being challenged by anti-New Dealers in the Congress. But, it qualifies the support by advocating the need for the Administration to reel in union demands for higher wages, left largely unabated since Pearl Harbor, giving rise to the threat of inflation and the very need therefore for the price subsidies to stem it. It concludes that as long as that policy of coddling Labor continued unarrested, any price subsidies would prove ineffectual in curbing inflation.

"All's Well" reports that with Southerners leading the nation in Victory Gardens and North Carolina appearing to be doing its share of the fighting, with 215,000 in uniform, 90,000 of whom were volunteers, the South as a region appeared to be pulling its own weight now in the war effort.

"The Slowdown" comments on the piece appearing on the front page Saturday indicating that the Army had canceled rental agreements on 204 of 434 hotels being leased to house airmen in training. The cutback, suggests the piece, was signal that the Allied High Command had determined the course of the war and necessary quotas of personnel with whom to win it. From now on, it predicts, there would be fewer officers in training in the armed forces generally, as a concomitant slowing of the pace of war production suggested that the necessary level of men and materiel to win the war had reached a point of equilibrium and the need henceforth therefore would be primarily replacement.

And, a letter writer from Shelby wishes to re-write the Constitution to substitute "United Nations" for "United States", making it a constitutional requirement that the United States participate as a member nation in such a post-war organization, that the Soviet Union and Great Britain ratify the document as well.

Would such an elaborate unity, across oceans and vast distances, separated by cultural gulfs, historical diversity, differing economic systems, and language barriers, ever have worked in 1945? It certainly did not come to be, even if there were mutual treaty defense obligations set forth in the NATO charter and that of the Organization of American States. But, opposed to NATO came the Warsaw Pact, headed by the U.S.S.R.

Would it work today, with all of those post-war treaty organizations either disintegrated, in the case of the Warsaw Pact, or largely inert in the case of NATO?

There are those on the far right of the country who would view the proposition of the Shelby writer with disdain, as promoting the dratted "one-world government", the Babylon Harlot of Revelations become incarnate. Some of those believe that the United Nations is this Harlot of Revelations or at least foreshadowing of it, even if that is preposterous on its face and simply connotes a lack of understanding of what this organization does.

Nevertheless, they would want to change his head.

But though not present today and never before in world history, imagine that it could be. Would it work? If at all, for long?

Incidentally, we feel constrained to pose a philological question of immense import which has been hounding us from last week: Why did Samuel Grafton not describe Senator Chandler's "beat Japan first" advocacy, rather than as informing of an onion, a potato, most madcap, don't ye see, when crossing the Grand Canyon via mallet's prepense as key? They both grow underground, don't they, fall off the wall which can't be upside down, backwards read so anytime at all?

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